As I announced in the previous post, we are being stationed in Rock Island Arsenal in Illinois this summer. We will most likely start the moving process in June. RIA is a very small base, with only about 800 active duty are actually stationed there. It is however the biggest employer of civilians in the Quad City area.
RIA is situated in the middle of the Mississippi River, living up to its name as an actual island. The Mississippi River is the border between Iowa and Illinois so we can actually live on either side. Although most people we have talked to live in Iowa we are still not sure what we will do.
From what we hear their are four very distinct seasons here. It gets hot and humid in the summers similar to the South, but definitely gets cold in the winter which we were 'lucky' enough to encounter while visiting. However we have heard great things about how beautiful the spring and fall can be and i'm very glad to hear that.
I've been researching the area for quite some time and really just had a ton of questions, so we decided to make an impromptu visit to the area. The grandparents kept the big 3 kiddos and Mike, Macky and i packed up and headed to RIA for a little recon mission.
Macky did great on his first flight. I'd say newborn would be the perfect age to fly with...they just eat and sleep and since they can do that anywhere it was really no big thing. The flight to IL was great, we arrived late that night, drove around in the dark looking for food and checking out what will be our new home in a few months and then headed to our hotel to get some rest.
Macky's first flight
waiting in an airport...don't judge the no socks, he can't keep them on no matter how hard we try.
The next morning we had an appointment to see some available houses--it was also valentines day. So we all got up, got dressed and Macky wore his new V-day shirt. It says Doctor of Love :) I'm not sure he was as amused as I was.
This was the view from the first house. Flat and Cold. Don't get me wrong, i can see the beauty in this, but its definitely very different from anything we are used to.
After a long morning of looking for houses, and honestly being mentally/emotionally exhausted at the not very promising prospects, we stopped to have lunch at Buffalo Wild Wings. Macky had been in the car seat for hours and while he had been super good, we felt bad and so we hung out at the restaurant for quite a while warming up, eating yummy food and playing with our baby.
you know you are a veteran daddy when you can hold your wobbly 5 week old while eating wings.
Happy Valentine's Day handsome!
(what happened to his other cute outfit you ask? well... baby's love to have blowouts...especially when you are out with no way of washing/cleaning up. I can't even count the number of pooptastaphies we had that weekend).
we spent most of our day on the IL side of the river, so before going back to our hotel, we stopped at the John Deere museum in Moline to get a quick picture/clue for our game.
Moline is home of the John Deere World Headquarters. I guess that's cool and all, but what i learned from this weekend about John Deere and the corporate world is that they are driving up the housing prices in the area and our military housing allowance can't compete--at least with a house in a decent neighborhood and school.
We used every bit of daylight driving around checking out neighborhoods, schools, etc (like 9 hrs adn 200 miles worth) and we were just plain tired that evening. So for our valentine's dinner that night we chose to watch Parenthood on Netflix and had Papa Johns delivered to the hotel.
The next morning we woke up to 0 degrees. Thankfully by the time we got out the door at 9am it had risen to 3 degrees :) I decided that once you hit about 10...it's all the same. Cold. Well that's until the wind sets in. That's a whole other ballgame.
This is how Macky handled the cold. We had lots of giggles about his positions and faces throughout the weekend.
We checked out a church while we were there. Although it may not be where we end up committing too, checking out a church was a great idea. Everyone was very friendly and we were able to talk to a few people about the area and hear their opinions on schools. After church we ate at the Machine Shed Restaurant. If you haven't been to one it's like Cracker Barrell but better. It was the perfect Sunday lunch. We will definitely be going back there.
On our last day we visited one more town we are interested in maybe living, Le Claire. This is also the town where the original Antique Archaeology shop is located. Le Claire was super cute and by far my favorite little town we visited while there--no rental homes, although i'll be continuing to look.
We chose this as our last clue because we figured most people would be familiar with the show and be able to figure out where we were.
We also went to the Arsenal on this day. It was just as tiny as I expected. Basically one major road, a bunch of what looked like empty buildings, a small golf course covered in snow, a few apartment type houses, a small commissary and that's about it. It does however have a great view of the Mississippi River.
Our trip ended...or not i guess you could say, with a flight cancellation because of the ice/snow storm raging the east coast. Our plane couldn't make it to Moline so we had an extra night to spend in IL. Thankfully that's all of the flight problems we had and although it was a long day the next day--with a 0230 am wake up, 6 am flight, drive from Charlotte to Atown on a bunch of icy roads full of crazy drivers to pick up our babies and then to Fayetteville so Mike could make work the next day--Macky did amazing. He again was not amused... but he was however fantastic and wins the Best Baby Traveler award for sure!
The kids and the "snow" at Grandma and Pop Pop's